Bang… bang… bang…
We have a guy doing some repair work on our window trim right now. The racket from his hammer invades every corner of our house. We had the same worker here a few years ago, and he hasn’t changed a bit. He pulled up this morning in the same rusty van cluttered with well-used tools and gadgets. He met me with the same smiling, sunburned face; pencil behind his ear. I think he was even wearing the same sweatshirt.
As he works, he’s always accompanied by familiar sounds from an old paint-splattered radio. Just like his van and sweatshirt, the station he plays hasn’t changed in the last three years either. It features classic rock songs from the late 70s / early 80s. I have the privilege to listen along with him all day from the confines of my home office.
Now don’t get me wrong — I’m a big music fan, and these are the songs that were popular when I grew up. I appreciate the genre, but I’ll never understand why these stations play the exact same songs every day. It’s a top-40 station frozen in time. You hear the identical two or three hits from all the big names: Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Boston, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Journey, etc — but they never go any deeper. They never explore any other thoughts or ideas from these artists.
As the faint tones of “Sweet Home Alabama” filter through the walls for the second time in as many days, I wonder how many of our prayer lives resemble the play-list of a classic rock station. We’ve been running the same songs for years… even decades! The Lord tunes into the same thing on our frequency every day. The lyrics never change. If a major issue comes up in our life, we might switch the station for a period of time, but then somehow we quickly settle right back into our “top-40.”
While it’s not wrong to repeat our prayers, the Psalms often tell us, “Sing to the Lord a new song!” God loves us and we’re all special artists to Him. He’d surely love to hear more of our full repertoire in prayer. After all, would we ever think of calling a friend and telling them the same thing everyday?
So how can we promote some creativity in our prayer lives? One idea that helps me is to simply start my prayers differently. Think about it — we often begin our personal prayers with the exact same line or two (or three… or four!). Just as a song with a new intro has a whole different feel, starting our prayers differently can send our thoughts and “lyrics” in new directions.
Another idea: try praying for a few minutes without using any of your own standard “go-to” lines. It’s not easy! It’s like a classic rock station trying to plan their day without using any of the legendary bands listed above. This can be a bit of a mental puzzle, but that’s the point. You may even find you have to quickly write out your prayer “play-list” in advance to succeed.
Classic radio stations will always play the same material, but we don’t have to. Let’s offer the Lord some variety by changing our station and singing a new song to Him!
– Ron Reid